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The Royal Society of Chemistry

Scholarly publishing audience and competitor research

The brief

The Royal Society of Chemistry needed a better understanding of the value and impact that their academic journal Chemistry Education Research and Practice (CERP) provided to an international community of authors, readers and researchers. Shift used its experience in conducting research with scientists and its expertise within the scholarly publishing sector to investigate the following:

RSC CERP publication front cover
  • The audience: Who reads and authors articles in CERP? What are their needs?
  • The publication: How does CERP fit into the educational research landscape among its competitors? Is it meeting the needs of authors and readers?
  • The market: What is the size of the research community in this field? How is chemistry education research used by teachers, trainers and researchers?

The approach

  • 4 interviews with key RSC stakeholders to understand their hypotheses and visions for the journal.
  • Desk research comparing the publication to 13 competitor journals to map the offer in the sector.
  • Brief literature review to understand how educational research is used.
  • 40 phone interviews with researchers, teachers and teacher trainers to uncover readership and authoring experiences.
  • An online survey across all audience types to corroborate and build on the interview findings.

The value

The report provided qualitative and quantitative insights and actionable recommendations in a range of areas, most notably:

  • An in-depth picture of the value, impact and perceptions of the journal, as well as its distinctiveness from competitors.
  • Outreach and promotion opportunities – identifying audiences to focus on and promising channels.